28 Nov 3 ways Simplus celebrates the Salesforce Ohana spirit
by Amy Cook
We’ve heard a lot about diversity lately, and with good reason. Promoting diversity in the workplace is good for employee morale, but it is also smart business. Studies show that by the year 2044, groups currently classified as “minorities” will reach majority status.
It’s not enough to merely add underrepresented minority groups to your workforce. Instead, an authentically effective inclusive team requires a change in how you view them and how you’ve defined your work culture.
They have a term for this at Salesforce; it’s called Ohana. “‘Ohana’ means family, the concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another,” explained Paul Ginsberg. “Ohana, in the Salesforce parlance, goes much further than that. It’s all of Salesforce’s stakeholders, be that customers, employees, partners, or communities.”
This innovative employee dynamic consistently influences the way we do business here at Simplus. And we appreciate the inspiration and the model Salesforce provides, particularly for SaaS businesses in the tech industry.
So, in the spirit of thankfulness, here are three ohanas we are grateful for at Simplus.
Our Salesforce military community
As 200,000 people converged on San Francisco for Dreamforce ‘19, part of that attention was focused on the Salesforce Military Alliance program. Formerly known as Vetforce, this program offers training for a veteran or military spouse, creating a successful transition from military life to one filled with career opportunities in technology.
Since its launch in 2014, over 15,000 members of the military community have gained valuable skills, earned certifications, and landed meaningful careers in the Salesforce ecosystem. But the most important feature of this program is the support it shares with strong individuals who have already dedicated so much to this country and want to find new ways to transition and contribute to civilian life.
People like AJ Sawhney, Vetplus ambassador and customer success manager at Simplus. AJ is one of the over 20,000 Trailblazers in the Salesforce Military community. After serving for six years of service in the Army National Guard, AJ noticed the term “Salesforce” in a variety of job postings and decided to consider a career in technology. AJ joined Salesforce Military, hit the trail on Trailhead, earned free Salesforce certifications, and landed a job in the Salesforce ecosystem.
For Annamaria Hickman, a quick stop at the Simplus Dreamforce ‘18 booth to discuss Simplus Partner Alliance changed her career course. One year later, Hickman, a milspouse and lead consultant at Simplus, returned to Dreamforce ‘19 to teach other veteran attendees about the opportunities the Military Partner Alliance program.
“We know it isn’t enough to train the military community with the necessary technology skills to succeed. Transitioning veterans are often overlooked during the hiring process because their unique experiences might not translate directly to a posted job description,” explained Ann Weeby at Salesforce. “So, they need help to get their resumes to the top of the pile. That’s why we launched the Salesforce Military Alliance back in May, creating a larger movement to prioritize and accelerate the interviewing and hiring of veterans and military spouses for Salesforce ecosystem roles.”
“Salesforce Military Alliance allowed me to pivot my industry to reduce travel and build/develop long-term career options without having to uproot my family,” said Karlton Knight, associate consultant at Simplus, who was trained as a 98G (Arabic Cryptologic Voice Interceptor) in the military. “Veteran outreach and mentoring through PMI and Veterati is important to me. Guiding others to find their passion earlier in life and help them find success and passion drives me.”
Our APAC support
Having expanded operations into Australia this year, Simplus has witnessed firsthand the enthusiastic and entrepreneurial spirit of the APAC region. “We are thrilled to work with the talented leadership of Sqware Peg and combine forces to further grow our presence and continue making an impact in the global Salesforce marketplace,” said Ryan Westwood, CEO of Simplus when the acquisition of Australia-based Sqware Peg was finalized.
“We’re excited about what the future holds as part of Simplus in Australia,” said Reid Meldrum, managing director at Simplus Australia. “We will be able to extend our range of services to offer clients quote-to-cash solutions as part of the global leaders in Salesforce CPQ and billing.”
The acquisition offered exciting benefits for business growth, but it also presented an opportunity to connect with the dynamic leadership and entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in the APAC region. And that “can do” business model is making waves on a global scale.
“There is a phenomenal market opportunity to enable world-class startups across the country,” Salesforce reported in March of this year. “According to Startup Muster, nearly half of Australian startups are actively trying to raise funds, and 45 percent identify as delivering Software as a Service (SaaS) products.”
Experts predict that should these startups secure financing and scale, 25 percent of the Australian economy is likely to be directly impacted by software by 2025, which equates to $524 billion of GDP.
The women at Simplus
There has been an ongoing narrative about women not only entering the technology field but also earning leadership positions. And many have turned to Salesforce as a way to measure their progress.
At the cusp of Dreamforce ‘19, the Salesforce message resonates loud and clear that equality in the workplace is a priority in this industry, particularly for women.
“Women make up 31.6 percent of our workforce, up from 30.9 percent last year, adding 4,000 women employees, and outpacing Salesforce’s growth,” reported Tony Prophet, Salesforce’s Chief Equality Officer. He added that women make up 22.3 percent of the Salesforce VP+ population. So what does prioritizing equality look like on a daily basis? And how can it encompass all minority groups that may feel underrepresented?
In 2018, Salesforce instituted an Equality Ally program. “As we began to encourage our Salesforce employees to be allies, many began to ask us “how?”,” explained Prophet. “We worked to distill allyship into four simple steps — ask, listen, show up, and speak up. No matter where someone is on their ally journey, we are confident that if everyone practices these behaviors in their day-to-day interactions, eventually the culture will start to change for the better.”
At Simplus, the Salesforce mantra to ensure every employee feels “included, supported, valued, and empowered,” acts as a model for our work culture. Although, as a global company, we cannot meet face-to-face with each other, we have created specialized Slack forums that invite and encourage employees with common interests to share thoughts, photos, stories with others.
It’s no surprise that one of the more active channels is the Simplus shout out forum, as employees share positive messages of gratitude to each other for great work, fellowship, support, etc.
The women of Simplus have their own channel as well. And it offers a moment to exhale and share personal thoughts about the role these women play in furthering women leadership in the technology field. I am grateful for these friendships and support that is accessible anytime I need a lift. Here is a selection of the Ohana spirit from some of those women:
“I would say, for me, the level of trust and opportunity from Simplus leadership inspires me,” Jamie Teasdale, Simplus’ Director of Learning and Development Programs, said. “It gives me comfort as well as confidence that the leadership will take the company and me in a great direction.”
“Simplus is family. It has been for almost three years when my husband started working for the company,” Alejandra Acosta, associate consultant at Simplus, said. “Everyone was just amazing humans that when the opportunity to join came up, I jumped at the chance! Best decision I’ve ever made! When the leadership lives by our core values it makes it easy to want to follow suit!”
As we venture into the holiday season, I am thankful for the trailblazing spirit that drives this company. And as we welcome a new spoke to the proverbial Simplus wheel, I hope the wonderful people of Clout Partners will feel the enthusiastic and supportive vibe that is Simplus’ work culture.
Amy Cook is the Chief Marketing Officer at Simplus. She works with the executive team to provide a comprehensive marketing strategy for Simplus and loves burning the midnight oil with Diet Mountain Dew, jellybeans, and a good Netflix series.